Focusing on body improvement and physical well being, Hatha yoga consists of postures (asanas), breath control (pranayamas), muscle locks (bhandas), and gestures (mudras) aimed at balancing mind, body and spirit through practice. A Hatha yoga session is a complete workout, combining stretching, flexibility, strengthening, aerobic, and cardiovascular. Each asana or body position develops the strength and balance necessary to prepare for more challenging postures.
Asanas stretch and strengthen muscles, ligaments and joints while stimulating glands, nerves and organs. Each posture is held for a brief time, which allows for awareness and concentration of thoughts. Regular asana movement from one pose to another produces a meditative state. Generally, combinations of asanas result in a flowing style of yoga. Sequencing of asanas within a practice session allow for one pose to lead naturally into the next based on posture similarities. Asana repetitions develop body strength. The effect of combining asanas with coordinated pranayamas, or breathing techniques, produces a sense of vitality and rejuvenation.
A weekly yoga routine should include at least one to two 60-minute sessions. Yoga is not a competitive sport but rather an opportunity for going inward and listening to what the body is saying. Most standard yoga positions are achievable to some extent by the average person. The practice of yoga yields benefits. Yoga increases energy and productivity, speeds up metabolism and aids in stress reduction. If sitting still with a reflective mind is difficult, start with an active yoga class that physically challenges as opposed to a yoga class that centers on breathing or meditation. Many find that physical exertion while holding poses or flowing from one to the next aids in unwinding at the end of class in Savasana, or relaxation pose.
Most yoga students engage in some form of cross training. The ideal workout combines yoga with an aerobic activity such as brisk walking. For information about yoga for wellness and health maintenance, contact Dr. Richard Browne at (305) 595-9500.